Back To Listing

SUVs speed past passenger vehicles as the top choice of next new car purchase

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia) June 2001 – May 2019. Average interviews per year n=5,977. Base: Australians aged 14+ intending to buy a new vehicle in the next four years
New data from Roy Morgan shows that 825,000 (40%) Australians aged 14+ who are intending to purchase a new vehicle in the next four years plan on buying an SUV, making Sports Utility Vehicles the number one choice for Australians on the lookout for a new car.

SUVs have enjoyed a persistent rise in popularity, especially over the past decade. In 2009, 19.3% of those intending on buying a new car indicated they would purchase an SUV. This figure has more than doubled to 40% of buyers as of May 2019. The increase in SUV popularity has come at the expense of passenger vehicles, which have declined from 59.8% in 2009 to 36% as of May 2019 – a drop of 23.8%.

When looking at the most popular type of SUV among those looking to buy a new car in the next four years, we see that 492,000 Australians plan on driving home a five seat SUV. When it comes to passenger vehicles, the trusty four door sedan is the number one option, with 427,000 new car buyers intending to purchase one in the next four years. 

Light commercial vehicles have also enjoyed a steady rise in popularity among those looking to purchase a new car, climbing from 3.9% in 2002 to 9.3% as of May 2019. Looking closer at Australians intending on purchasing light commercial vehicles, we see that tradesman are driving the increase in popularity. As of May 2019, 28,000 (35.4%) Australian ‘tradies’ who were on the lookout for a new set of wheels were intending on buying a light commercial vehicle, with the hard-working ute at the top of the list.

Leading types of vehicles intended to be purchased in the next four years

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia) June 2001 – May 2019. Average interviews per year n=5,977. Base: Australians aged 14+ intending to buy a new vehicle in the next four years

Who are these Australians intending on purchasing an SUV?

We know that those planning to buy an SUV in the near future are more likely to be men (54%) than women (46%), and are 48% more likely than the average Australian to be aged 35-49 years old.

When looking at education and employment, they are far more likely to have a diploma or degree, 70% are employed, and they are 134% more likely than the average Australian to earn over $100,000. Also, 47% are classed in the ‘married, aged 35+, without children’ life cycle.

In terms of attitudes and behaviours, those intending to buy an SUV are more likely than the average Australian to ‘trust well known brands better than a stores’ own brand’, to be ‘optimistic about the future’, and to be ‘active on holidays’.

When it comes to media consumption, 50% read newspapers and 48% watch pay TV in an average week, and they are less likely than the average Australian to be heavy internet users.

Michele Levine, CEO of Roy Morgan, says:

“The increasing popularity of SUVs has been evident for many years, both in terms of the data and what we are seeing on our roads. It was only a matter of time before SUVs overtook passenger vehicles as the number one option among those intending to purchase a new car.

“Contrary to popular belief, it isn’t ‘soccer mums’ and people with young families who make up the biggest proportion of those looking to buy an SUV, rather they tend to be men who are married, aged 35 years and above, and without children living at home.

”Given the data suggests that the downward trend of passenger vehicles won’t be changing anytime soon, it may be time for automotive companies to rethink their strategy for once-loved four door sedan. With buyer preferences changing its important to understand what is driving the shift”

“The data also shows that a growing proportion of people are intending on purchasing light commercial vehicles, driven mainly be their popularity among Australian ‘tradies’ – an important sector of the market for automotive companies producing utes, vans and trucks.”

Find out more about Australians who intend to purchase an SUV, passenger vehicle or light commercial vehicle.

For comments or more information please contact:
Roy Morgan - Enquiries
Office: +61 (03) 9224 5309
askroymorgan@roymorgan.com


About Roy Morgan

Roy Morgan is the largest independent Australian research company, with offices throughout Australia, as well as in Indonesia, the United States and the United Kingdom. A full service research organisation specialising in omnibus and syndicated data, Roy Morgan has over 70 years’ experience in collecting objective, independent information on consumers.

Margin of Error

The margin of error to be allowed for in any estimate depends mainly on the number of interviews on which it is based. Margin of error gives indications of the likely range within which estimates would be 95% likely to fall, expressed as the number of percentage points above or below the actual estimate. Allowance for design effects (such as stratification and weighting) should be made as appropriate.

Sample Size

Percentage Estimate

40%-60%

25% or 75%

10% or 90%

5% or 95%

1,000

±3.0

±2.7

±1.9

±1.3

5,000

±1.4

±1.2

±0.8

±0.6

7,500

±1.1

±1.0

±0.7

±0.5

10,000

±1.0

±0.9

±0.6

±0.4

20,000

±0.7

±0.6

±0.4

±0.3

50,000

±0.4

±0.4

±0.3

±0.2